MPs accuse UK science powers of secrecy

November 1, 2002

MPs are expected to come down hard on the Office of Science and Technology next week when they publish a report accusing it of unacceptable secrecy.

Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich North and chair of the House of Commons science and technology committee, is angry at the OST's failure to release details from the Transparency Review of science, an audit of scientific output completed last December.

Dr Gibson said that science minister Lord Sainsbury's cross-cutting review of science was published only last week, seven months after ministers received it.

This week, the committee attacked the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in a report that examined its education, fellowships and innovation and invention programmes.

It found that Nesta's system for nominating candidates for fellowships left it "open to accusations of networking and favouritism", that only a small minority of awards went to academics, and that Nesta had not advertised itself widely enough in universities.

The report accuses Nesta of sloppiness with figures and concludes that it did not merit an increase in its endowment.

A Nesta spokesman said: "We are disappointed that they do not feel we have a strong enough case for an increase in our funding from £200 million to the level originally intended of £500 million."

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